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“A Single Heart” (Philippians 3:13-16


I. Introduction. A. Orientation. 1. If you want to be successful at something and stand out from the crowd, you must be devoted to that cause: your time, energy, and resources – your whole life. 2. This is true in virtually every area of life: probe the pages of history and you’ll find that nothing worthwhile that’s been done without this kind of commitment. B. Preview. 1. The same is true when it comes to the Christian life. a. Paul knew early in his life, even when unconverted, that he would have to put his whole heart into what he was doing if he was to move ahead in Judaism. b. Once the Lord saved him, he still knew this to be true. (i) And so he began to seek Christ. (a) His righteousness, that he might be saved. (b) His power that he might serve Him. (ii) He was willing to suffer that he might glorify Him. (iii) And all this, that he might attain to the resurrection of the righteous. (iv) He was continually reaching forward to what was ahead. (v) He didn’t do this only because he knew he must, but also because now he wanted to. c. If we are to be useful to the Lord, we need this single heart for Christ as well – Paul tells us as much: “Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you” (v. 15). 2. This evening, let’s consider two things: a. First, the importance of a single heart. b. Second, how we can cultivate a single heart. II. Sermon. A. First, let’s consider the importance of a single heart. 1. To have a single heart means: a. To be so devoted to something that it’s all you think about, it’s all you live for. b. It’s means having a one-track mind – to have your mind filled with ways to carry out the desire of your heart. c. It means to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.

2 2. Without a single heart, we won’t do much for the Lord and what we do won’t have much value. a. Paul tells us that the greatest gifts and sacrifices without this kind of love are worthless to God, “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing” (1 Cor. 13:1-3). b. Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees that their worship was actually offensive to the Lord because it didn’t come from the heart, “You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME’” (Matt. 15:7). c. The Lord weighs what we do by our hearts – not by how much it costs us or how long we do it. d. The greater our love, the greater the value of our work, which is why it’s important that we have a single heart. B. Let’s consider then, second, some things that will motivate us to cultivate a single heart. 1. First, the fact we serve a holy God who knows our hearts should help us cultivate a single heart. a. He can see if our hearts are divided in our work, in our worship, in our prayers – if we’re really serious or not. b. Watson writes that worshiping God with a divided heart is like a man speaking to his king while playing with a feather. It dishonors him and his authority. And “Will God endure light, feathery hearts? How devout and reverent the angels are! They cover their faces and cry, ‘Holy, holy.’” c. The Lord knows the heart behind our actions, and so we should serve Him with a single heart. 2. Knowing how important spiritual things are and how important it is that we serve the Lord faithfully should help us cultivate a single heart. a. The eternal wellbeing of our souls is tied to whether we have a single heart – whether we love Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength – the evidence of the Spirit’s saving work. b. Our growth in grace is tied to having a single heart – if we don’t look to the Lord in His Word, in worship, in prayer, in love, we won’t grow. c. And the eternal wellbeing of lost souls are tied up in our single-heartedness – if we don’t love the Lord, we won’t reach them as we should. 3. Considering how much the Lord loves us should help us to cultivate a single heart. a. That He created us; how good He was to us when we were His enemies; how He sent His Son to reconcile us to Himself and save us from hell.

3 b. This should move us to love Him in return with a single heart. Watson writes, “The thoughts of a man who is in love, are on the person he loves, and nothing can distract them. The thoughts of a man who loves the world are always intent on it. If our hearts were more fired with love, they would be more fixed in duty, and oh, what cause we have to love duty! Is not this the direct road to heaven? Do we not meet with God here? Can the spouse be better than in her husband’s company? Where can the soul be better than in drawing near to God?” 4. Remembering how much it costs us every time our hearts become divided should move us to cultivate a single heart. a. When we indulge any sin, it’s like pouring water on the fire of our devotion: a heart that is steeped in it won’t burn. b. It weakens our worship, our prayers, our service to God, which impacts our eternal happiness. c. How much should we seek to grow in love? 5. Knowing the blessings that come from a single heart should motivate us to cultivate one. a. A strong love weakens our sin, helps us overcome Satan’s temptations, strengthens our communion with God, gives us peace of conscience, moves the Lord more powerfully to answer our prayers. b. This should help move us to keep the fire of our love burning hot through the means of grace, which are like pouring fuel on the fire (the devotionals on the means of grace). 6. The fact that when our hearts are divided it gives our enemies an advantage over us should move us to cultivate a single heart. a. The sin in our hearts, the world and the devil are constantly looking for a foothold to overcome us – a divided heart gives them this foothold. b. We need to seal up those breaches that give them this advantage and grow in love. (i) We need to kill the sin in our hearts. (ii) We must resist Satan’s temptations. (iii) And we must push the world out of our hearts and thoughts. 7. Finally, knowing that the Word of God is true should help us cultivate a single heart. a. What it says about heaven and hell is true. b. What it says about what we must do to gain heaven is true. c. Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the

4 floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell - and great was its fall” (Matt. 7:24-27). d. If we do what it says, we will be safe; if we don’t, we will be ruined. e. If you care about your soul, this should move you to cultivate a single heart. 8. There are so many things that depend on having a single heart: a. The safety of our eternal souls. b. Our growth in grace. c. Our vulnerability to our enemies. d. Our victory over them. e. The effectiveness of our prayers. f. The effectiveness of our service. g. How useful we will be to the saints. h. How useful in reaching the lost. i. How much we will do for the Lord. j. Listen to Paul’s exhortation – forget what’s behind and strive to reach what is ahead (Phil. 3:13-14). k. Let’s run the race that we may win, fixing our eyes whole heartedly on Jesus (1 Cor. 9:24 ; Heb. 12:1-2). l. To help us do this, let’s prepare now to come to the Table to remember Christ’s single heart for His Father and for us, that it might kindle a single heart in us.